Funded by $90 million from the Connect NC bond act, to be voted on in March, ECU's Life Sciences and Biotechnology Building will increase research development funding in eastern North Carolina, help recruit and retain innovative researchers and students, and increase production of science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics (STEAM) graduates. These graduates will have opportunities to earn higher-than-average starting salaries, to work for industrial, government and military partners who will be attracted to the region, and to boost the industrial and entrepreneurial investment in the region.
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East Carolina University's proposed 150,000-square-foot Life Sciences and Biotechnology Building, with a focus on teaching and research, will be eastern North Carolina's newest major intersection—of education and jobs, of the university and industry, of innovation and economic development.
This building addresses two commitments in ECU's strategic plan, maximizing student success and leading regional transformation, and will include the following:
Open research spaces will allow scientists and students from various fields to work together to make discoveries in crop research, agricultural technology and agricultural products. They will seek answers to questions about North Carolina's environment, the ecological impacts of development, water quality and more. They will explore new and more efficient ways to manufacture pharmaceuticals and biological products such as vaccines. They will connect with researchers across ECU and beyond.
Q&A with Chancellor Ballard
ECU will grow its engineering programs from about 650 students today to 1,000 by 2019, igniting innovation and technology developments. With biomedical and bioprocess engineers earning a median income of more than $86,960 a year, and job growth predicted to climb 27 percent by 2022, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, ECU will be producing graduates who can earn salaries that far outpace the regional average.
Add this fast-growing group to the list of professionals that ECU will send out to serve the region.
Engineers Poised to Serve
We need strong science and a strong workforce coming from our universities. Facilities like this one will help North Carolina lead the growth in life sciences, and it will help us grow high-paying jobs here in the state."
Team science. It's students, faculty and industry experts working together to tackle tough questions and develop solutions. It's pharmaceutical companies and ECU working together to develop technically skilled and creative students. It's leveraging the region's agriculture biotechnology to create new products and production techniques.
The DNA Sequencer at ECU provides information that is useful in several fields of biology, such as determining how certain genes are associated with diseases and identifying potential drug targets in diseases.
More about the DNA Sequencer
In 2015, ECU received $44.4 million in extramural funding, filed 13 U.S. patent applications, was awarded eight patents and had 14 active license/option agreements with small businesses. Eight of those were start-up companies. The Life Sciences and Biotechnology Building will be the incubator for innovation and economic development.
ECU's economic impact makes a mark on the state, eastern North Carolina, and our local area.
ECU's Impact on NC